Reflections on gratitude
Autumn is a time for reflection.
Across the country and the world, people come together to celebrate holidays, consider the year gone by, and ponder the new one yet to come. Almost instinctively, we’re reminded of those parts of our lives for which we’re most thankful during these moments of reflection: time with those we love most, memories of joyful moments, longing for a stretch of sand or a cozy cabin.
What is fascinating about these instances of gratitude is the speed with which we can conjure them. Asked what we’re thankful for, we arrive almost instantly not only with a subject of affection, but also with a laconic, meaningful justification for that gratitude.
Here are our reflections on the person, place, and thing for which we’re most appreciative, and our single-sentence reasons why.
- My mom: She taught me the meaning of unconditional love and support.
- Any ocean in the world: Walking along the beach, dodging the waves, and laughing – the meaning of freedom to me.
- Hiking: With my dog Henry – winter, spring, summer, or fall.
- Joanne: My best friend, she has taught me so much about the person I want to be – and continue to strive to become.
- A sandy beach: On the ocean, listening to the sound of the waves and looking at the great expanse of water brings me a sense of peace that I don’t experience anywhere else.
- Bella, Harley, and Riley: My three golden retrievers – the sheer joy they demonstrate every time I come home (or feed them), the loving snuggles, and their never-ending wagging tails always makes me smile.
- My maternal grandmother: She lived a life of generosity and exemplified what it means to be giving.
- My family’s lake house: On Lake Okoboji, this is my happiest place on earth.
- Running trails: A runner’s high knows no bounds and everything has a solution when the will and effort is there.
- My fiancée Alexis: She pushes me to be a better person.
- The banks of free-flowing rivers: Nothing is more calming or head clearing than listening to life around the flowing water.
- Fly rod: Nothing is more fun than hooking into a fatty brown or rainbow trout after clearing your head.
- My maternal grandfather: He taught me that vision doesn’t always involve eyesight.
- The Laurels Pub in Killarney, Ireland: Over fish, chips, and a pint of Guinness, I realized I would ask Emily to marry me.
- My bicycle: In the saddle, climbing a hill with the wind in my face, the volume gets turned down on everything but the road ahead.